Friday, July 17, 2015

Gear Closet: ECCO Yura GTX Light Hiking Shoes

My recent trip to Alaska turned out to be a good opportunity to put some new gear to the test. After all, the terrain there is perfect for hiking and biking, and the weather was cooler than what I typically get during the summer months in North America. With that in mind, I packed a few new items to take with me on my journey, and I'll be sharing my thoughts on those various products in the days ahead.

One of the first pieces of gear that I was anxious to put to the test was the Yura GTX light hiking shoes from ECCO. I knew that while I was in Alaska that I'd be on my feet a lot, and doing some hiking on trails, but nothing too serious or demanding. So, a light hiking shoe seemed the perfect choice for my travels, and the Yura GTX was certainly a good choice for the job.

The GTX version of the Yura incorporates a Gore-Tex waterproof lining to help keep your feet dry in wet environments. Considering there were a few stream crossings on some of the trails, and the occasional rain storm to deal with, it was nice to have this extra level of protection. But Gore-Tex also lowers the breathability of a shoe to a degree, which can make your feet warmer at times as well. While this wasn't a major problem for me in the cooler temperatures of Alaska, it could be something you'll want to consider if you're hiking in warmer places. That said, ECCO also offers the standard model of the Yura that does not have the Gore-Tex lining.

Made from soft, yet durable, suede, the Yura is a nice looking shoe that resembles a cross between a hiking boot and a trail runner. ECCO has managed to mix the best of both of those worlds by offering a lightweight shoe that still has a tough sole capable of protecting the foot from a wide variety of obstacles. A sturdy toecap extends that level of protection to the front of the foot, while a firm heel cup offers stability and support.

The Yura shoes are quite comfortable on the feet, which makes them a joy to wear both on and off the trail. I routinely wore them for 15+ hours while in Alaska, transitioning from hiking routes to pavement without missing a beat. Their flexible sole and suede upper minimizes break-in time as well, allowing them to mold quickly to your feet after just a short time of use.

ECCO has incorporated a rugged stole in this shoe that provides surprisingly good traction on a wide variety of surfaces. This helps to make the Yura a great option for use not only on hiking trails, but also as an approach shoe or just kicking around camp. This level of versatility makes them a great option for adventure travelers too, as this is a shoe that can be worn in a variety of situations and environments.

If you're in the market for a light hiking shoe – or a versatile travel shoe – the ECCO Yura is a good choice. Comfortable, good looking, and very stable both on and off the trail, it is the type of shoe that can be worn just about anywhere. I appreciated the level of protection and cushioning that it brought to my foot, while still making it easy to scramble across streams, up steep hills, and over slick rocks. While it isn't meant to replace your dedicated backpacking boots, it can handle just about anything else that you throw at it.

The Yura GTX model – with a Gore-Tex liner – carries a price of $170, while the standard mode of the Yura is a bit less expensive at $150. Both versions of this shoe are worth the investment, delivering great performance and durability for the price.

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